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Beets: The uber tuber

Don’t waste your greens!

Went our for dinner and had a delicious beet salad last night, and I was reminded how much I love these little gems. Now, I know they’ve gotten a bad rap, but honestly I don’t know why. They’re sweet, but not too sweet, and they’re loaded with lots of healthy nutrients I can’t be bothered to look up the spelling of. You know, whatever it is you get from dark colored fruits and vegetables. So, I thought I’d take a mo and mention the mighty beet and offer a bit of advice on preparing them.

Quick note: There seems to be a mania for raw beets at the moment, but that is just wrong. If you want to shred ’em and eat ’em raw, that’s between you and your god. Personally I never would. Call me a conscientious objector on the issue.

So right off quick, set your oven to 425 degrees.

Take your beets and lop off the leaves, leaving about an inch of stem on each beet. If the greens are fresh, you can wash them and steam them. They are absolutely delicious with a pat of butter and a drizzle of red wine vinegar. If you’ve never tried the greens, do so immediately. Some say they’re the best part of the veg.

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“Another drink, another binge, another bender, another spree.”

A little quinoa salad to help straighten you out on New Year’s Day.

Depending on the level of debauchery you achieve in the wee hours of the New Year, your first thought upon waking might well be, “I am never going to drink again,” not that I’d know much about that. But let’s be honest, if surviving a bender was a reliable cure for a tendency to overindulge, we’d all be sober as judges come January 2, and we’d stay that way for a good long time, or at least until St. Paddy’s Day.

Regrettably, such is generally not the case. Still, in the agonizing hours or days that follow a walk on the wild side, sustenance must be had. And though it’s entirely likely that the thought of eating lacks a certain appeal when you first wake up, once the vomiting subsides and the hallucinations fade, you will need to put something in your stomach. I find that the crashing hangover responds best to a combination of sugar and stodge, and for me French toast fits the bill. But as the day wears on, healthier foods are called for, and I’ve got just the thing: quinoa salad. I often make up a batch on the 31st, just to have it at the ready, and because experience has shown that it’s generally not advisable to wield sharp knives until at least January second.

I adapted this from Jamie Oliver’s recipe for couscous salad in “The Naked Chef.” The quinoa has a little more flavor, fiber and nutritional value than regular couscous, though you can substitute couscous if you prefer.

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